The World Wide Web: the beginning and now

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Vannevar Bush and Memex cont...

[ Picture, Vannevar Bush ]

In 1959, Vannevar Bush proposed the Memex II, which would improve over the original Memex in a number of ways. Microphotography would be replaced by magnetic tape for the storage of data (Bush, 1959, 167). Bush believed this would allow information to be erased or added instantaneously. Another addition was the ability to speak to the machine (Bush, 1959, 170). This would allow for the storage and retrieval of sounds, in addition to documents and images. The two most noteworthy additions in the Memex II were the use of color to distinguish old trails from new trails, and the use of phone lines in order to add documents to one's personal database (Bush, 1959, 172-174). Both of these ideas are evident in the World Wide Web structure that exists today.

Bush's ideas were revolutionary for his time, and would be for decades to follow. His theory of a personal workdesk machine that could store massive amounts of information followed in the tradition of many before him, as a response to the overwhelming amounts of information that lay within society. The notion that this vast amount of "miniaturized" information could be selected through a process of personal associations set Bush apart from his predecessors, and would eventually have great influence on future information pioneers.


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